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29 August

In the headlines

Airline passengers face days of travel chaos after yesterday’s air traffic control glitch, which saw more than a quarter of UK flights cancelled. Though the fault was fixed within hours, aircraft and crew are now out of position and schedules continue to be disrupted. The NHS is to offer blood pressure checks at barber’s shops, churches and other community hubs, in a bid to cut heart attacks in men. Largely due to lifestyle factors such as drinking and smoking, men are twice as likely to suffer heart attacks as women. The mother of the Spanish football federation boss Luis Rubiales has gone on hunger strike in a church to protest her son’s “inhuman” treatment. The organisation’s regional presidents have publicly demanded that Rubiales resign for forcing a kiss on a female player, says the Daily Star. “You can’t get your mummy to sort this one out, señor.”


This video of a kingfisher striking its prey from the viewpoint of the poor old fish has racked up more than a million views on X (formerly Twitter). Watch a longer video here.

Inside politics

In 2015, Rory Stewart’s father died in his arms after suffering a heart attack. When the then Tory MP returned to work on Monday, his boss, Liz Truss, asked him how his weekend had been. “I explained that my father had died,” he writes in his new book, Politics on the Edge. “She paused for a moment, nodded and asked when the 25-year environment plan would be ready.”


Gen Zs have redefined CDs as pieces of collectable merchandise, says The Washington Post. The plastic discs now make up only 3% of the music industry’s earnings, down from 96% in 2002. But a small, devoted group of superfans are sticking with them, in part because the economics of CDs means a larger chunk of their money goes to the artists they love, even compared with “hundreds of streams” online. CDs are also “easier to store and less pricey than vinyl records”, and have the perfect turn-of-the-millennium “Y2K aesthetic” for young music lovers.

Love etc

A new genre of love story has “conquered pop culture”, says Time magazine: the “wholesome romance”. Decorated with “cute illustrations of adorable couples”, these books leap out from displays in “gummy-candy hues” and are full of gentle humour and happy endings. Gone are the “bloodsucking dreamboats” and “BDSM billionaires” of Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. The new literary heartthrobs are more “vanilla”: Casey McQuiston’s bestselling Red, White & Royal Blue – recently adapted into an Amazon film – features a cutesy prince and the down-to-earth son of a politician. Apparently female audiences are fed up with “Hollywood’s conflation of love with predation” and want something “less stressful”.


Thanks to falling battery costs and a tax exemption, many electric cars in China are now cheaper than their petrol-powered equivalents, says Bloomberg. EVs currently account for 37% of car sales there, way ahead of the government target of 25% by 2025. Seven of China’s top 10 best-selling cars last month were electric or hybrids, with Tesla’s Model Y in a comfortable first place.


It’s a coded announcement for the Rolling Stones’s 31st studio album, seemingly titled Hackney Diamonds. The advert, for a fictional glass repair business, recently appeared in the Hackney Gazette, and references famous Stones songs like Satisfaction and Gimme Shelter. “Hackney diamonds” is local slang for broken glass, says BBC News – “specifically the shards left on the ground after car and shop windows are smashed during a robbery”.



“To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.”

American humourist Bill Vaughan